Working from home (WFH) is not a piece of cake especially when cybercriminals exploited every possible vulnerability to break into your workstation.
Cybercriminals are improving and refining their methods for preying on people’s anxieties about COVID-19. As a result, working from home has opened the door to new types of data theft.
A lack of technology infrastructure and poor cyber and data protection poses a cyber risk to organizations, as well as the sheer number of employees who are not educated on the very real and grave cybersecurity threats they face every day.
Companies must prioritize preventative measures to address both the loss of corporate data and intellectual property and the possibility of corporate fraud. This requires a combination of tech fixes that help keep companies current on data management and compliance standards, as well as understanding the threats as they continue to evolve. Below are 4 ways cybercriminals exploit remote teams.
While working from the comfort of their own homes, remote employees are prone to letting their guard down, more so than they would be in an office setting. Cybercriminals know this and send phishing emails to deceive an employee into clicking on links infected with malware or attachments, giving hackers access to or control of the computer, and eventually, access to your company’s network.
Another reason phishing is more attractive to cybercriminals in a remote work setting is that cybercriminals have more than one avenue for getting access to work-related information. The firewalls and antivirus software that you use in your office might be much more robust than what an employee has on their home computer network, and their personal email also becomes a gateway for cybercriminals “phishing” for information. It is important to keep employees up to date on current phishing techniques.
Poorly secured home Wi-Fi networks that are connected to other computers and devices, not to mention the challenge of making laptops and work papers invisible from everyone else in the house, may make managing the security of workers who work from home a tremendous undertaking. Again, cybercriminals recognize this and see unsecured home networks as a prime means of gaining access to sensitive information.
IT (such as cloud services) that are managed outside of the IT department and without their awareness is known as shadow IT. These unsecured servers and cloud services have become one of the biggest cybersecurity threats of the remote work era and will continue to be so as SaaS and other cloud-based offerings continue to proliferate at both the B2C and B2B levels.
Your data is more likely to wind up outside of your control if you use shadow IT. An employee with access to a shared drive, for example, may download a document on their device. They might then re-upload it to their own cloud storage account. That data “leaks” out of your systems every time it travels and can be intercepted by cybercriminals, especially if there is no VPN involved in use.
Cybercriminals have begun to acquire employee names, locations, places of employment, positions, length of time at the firm, and occasionally even the employee’s home address from employee social media pages.
The hackers then register a domain and develop phishing websites that look just like a company’s internal VPN login page. These phishing URLs can even collect two-factor authentication or one-time passwords by replicating the company’s own security measures.
The attacker then phones the employee on his or her personal cell phone, pretending to be an internal IT specialist or a help desk staffer with a security issue. By utilizing the information gathered on the employee during the research phase, the “Visher” gets the employee’s confidence and persuades him or her that the scammer needs to enter into a new VPN link to fix a security issue or other IT necessity. These fake domains are popping up more and more and are being used to steal all manner of information.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the inadequate preparation and uncertainty during these times of instability and transition. Hackers all around the world have upped their game, including targeting remote employees in order to acquire simple backdoor access to business networks, which they can then use to launch ransomware attacks and steal customer data.
There has been a dramatic increase in data breaches during COVID-19, as well as an increase in remote employees, with ransomware assaults up dramatically. Many businesses, including law firms, had been within the sights of cybercriminals well before the pandemic started.
At this critical juncture, a successful hack might cause your company significant financial and reputational harm, and perhaps fines and penalties for noncompliance with data breach legislation. It’s not a question of whether, but when a remote worker will unwittingly inflict harm.